Press enter after choosing selection

Riley At University Hall

Riley At University Hall image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

James Whitcomb Riley was born so long ago that he persists in never referring to the date. Tradition, however, fixes the year as 1850, and the place as Greenh'eld, Ind. His boyhood was replete with adventure and vicissitude. "His father was a lawyer and in moments of deep thought would regard his wayward son as the worst case he ever had." At school young Riley was more of a truant than a student. At an early age he left school and adopted the romantic calling of a vagabond sign painter, sometimes feigning blindness for business policy. "He could paint a sign, or a house, or a tin roof, and one of Riley's hand-painted picket fences with trimmings, was a rapture to the most exacting eye." He performed in a theatrical troupe for some time with popular success, and becarne quite proficient in re-casting plays and improvising songs'. About 1875 he began to contribute verses in western dialect to local papers, which at once caught the popular fancy. He exhibited his imitative powers also by writing a short piece called "Leonainie," which many literary critics innocently accepted as a poem of Edgar A. Poe's! This good natured bit of indiscretion cost him the loss of a lucrative newspaper position. lie hnaily obtamed regular employment in the office of the Indianapolis Journal. In this paper, and laterly in the magazines, he has published numerous dialect and serious poems. As a public entertainer Air. Riley is without a superior on the rostrum. He is at once a poet a humorist and an actor. His rendering of his quaint dialect poems is inimitable, and a splendid treat is in store for the students in University hall tonight.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News